A Gift of Art for the Children

News Release
 

Four-year-old Rosemary Dunham was first set in front of an easel by her brother at the local library. She described this first encounter with a paintbrush as “thrilling” and “powerful” as she made her marks on the paper. Rosemary could have never imagined the impact art would have on both her and many other 4-year-olds in the decades to come.

Through the years, art played a significant part in her life. At the young age of 15 she became the Junior Display Artist in the David Jones department store restaurant. By working during the day, she was able to fund a 3-year evening Miscellaneous Art course, covering drawing, oil and watercolour painting, and graphics.

At age 20, after completing a 2-year Interior Decorating course she received a calling as an Interior Decorator and Landscape Designer for the LDS Church Building Program throughout NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

While working during the day as a nurse at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, she continued her art courses in the evening.

Eventually her art lead to the opening of a fine arts gallery, a job as a ceramics teacher, annual trips to see the art of India, and the ownership of a florist business, “Rose Magic”. 

Rosemary’s many experiences in the world of art have positioned her to be uniquely useful in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After retiring at age 70, her Bishop called for Church Service Missionaries. Rosemary volunteered.

She described her experience, “After being given the Pacific Area Plan, with its objective to “Increase Spiritual and Temporal Self Reliance”, I studied the material given me and wondered just how the Lord could possibly use a 73-year-old artist.

In congregations across the South Pacific the education initiative was recently introduced to families in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

The congregations consisted of a tapestry of peoples from Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand. Many preschool children were not enrolled in preschools or day school. She got to know the families and began to understand some of the daily hardships that many of the mothers faced. There was certainly a need for the Mum's Preschool. To view a video about Mum's Preschool, click here.

The Mum’s Preschool is for children aged 4 to 5 years old, who will be attending their first year of primary school the following year. It can be adapted for younger children.

Mum’s Preschool groups are organized and taught by mothers or other family members. Each family takes turns holding the preschool at their house. Families can provide a preschool for their own children, and do not need to pay for their child to go to an outside preschool. Parents and family are the child’s most important teachers

As many of the children were not able to attend a local library it became apparent that visual aides were needed to enhance the curriculum provided by the church program.

As Rosemary assisted teaching she began to design artwork that would interest the children and compliment the subject at hand. Little by little she has added to the resources with jigsaws, books, paints, pencils, small blackboards, and chalks, etc.”

Rosemary has created many wonderful visual aids for the Mum’s Preschool Course. Each creation has been sent to the printers and provided at no cost to the Mum’s Preschool groups. By copyrighting this artwork to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Rosemary hopes that in similar circumstances throughout the world, Mum’s Preschool children may more fully enjoy the classes.

                                                                                               

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